China starts using QR codes to control those infected with coronavirus

The Chinese government, backed by tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and Tencent Holdings Ltd, has launched an app to help track citizens amid the ongoing COVID-2019 coronavirus, Reuters reports.

In turn, the Alipay payment system, a division of Alibaba Ant Financial, has released an application that assigns each person a color QR code that displays their health status. So far, it works only on the territory of the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

Citizens who use the app must complete an online form, provide their ID number, travel information, and any symptoms of the virus, including cough and fever. After completing the questionnaire, users receive a color QR-code on their mobile phones, reflecting their state of health.

Users with a red code are required to remain in quarantine for 11 days and be regularly checked in the chat application. Those assigned the yellow code must stay at home for a week, while the green code users can move around without restrictions.

State media say the system will help checkpoints at train stations and highways.

Hangzhou residents report that they are sometimes asked to present QR codes at the entrances to apartment complexes and shops. Alipay also announced that it is collaborating with the government to launch the service nationwide.